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date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The thesis of this essay is that an evolutionary overview is essential for the interpretation of sex differences. The requisite perspective is introduced with a brief primer on Darwinism and the complementarity of evolutionary and other forms of “explanation” of behavior. The Bateman-Trivers theory of the evolutionary basis of sex differences is synopsized and its relevance is considered for humans. Human males have higher fitness variance than females (albeit to a lesser extent than in many other mammals, including our closest relatives), and compete more intensely and dangerously than females. Arguably, this explains why violence and crime are male dominated in all societies; moreover, the interpretation of these phenomena as manifestations of male–male competition sheds light on variability between societies too. Finally, ways in which the evolutionary perspective advocated here may be relevant to men’s violence against women are considered.

Keywords: Bateman-Trivers theory, competition, evolution, sexual selection

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